How to Make  Chicken Dum Biryani : Best Detailed Guide

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A Complete Guide to Making Chicken Dum Biryani


Chicken Dum Biryani is not just a dish; it is an experience that encapsulates the rich culinary heritage of India. This one-pot wonder is renowned for its aromatic rice, tender marinated chicken, and the symphony of spices that dance on the palate. Originating from the Mughal kitchens, Biryani has traversed the subcontinent, evolving into numerous regional variants, each with its own unique twist. This guide will walk you through the intricate process of making Chicken Dum Biryani, ensuring that you achieve restaurant-quality results at home.

History and Cultural Significance

It is said that Persian traders and tourists introduced biryani to India. The Mughal emperors popularized it, and it quickly spread across the Indian subcontinent. Each region adapted the basic recipe to local tastes and ingredients, resulting in the wide variety of biryanis we have today.

The word ‘Biryani’ is derived from the Persian word ‘Birian,’ which means ‘fried before cooking.’ The traditional method of making biryani involves layering marinated meat with partially cooked rice and then cooking it on a low flame, often in a sealed pot, to allow the flavors to meld together—this is known as the “dum” technique.


Ingredients Breakdown

Chicken and Marinade

Chicken: The star of the dish, chicken, is used in bone-in pieces to impart maximum flavor. Traditional recipes often call for a mix of drumsticks, thighs, and breasts.

Yogurt (curd): acts as a tenderizer and adds a tangy flavor.
Red chili powder provides heat and color.
Turmeric powder adds color and a subtle earthy flavor.
Ginger-Garlic Paste: A key component in Indian cooking, this paste provides depth and warmth.
Garam Masala Powder: A blend of ground spices, garam masala adds complexity.
Lemon juice adds acidity, balancing the richness of the dish.
Mint and coriander leaves are fresh herbs that add a burst of freshness.
Green chilies provide additional heat and flavor.
Fried onions contribute sweetness and a slight crunch.

Rice Preparation

Basmati Rice: Long-grain basmati rice is preferred for its fragrant aroma and fluffy texture.
Whole Spices: Bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, and cloves are essential for infusing the rice with aromatic flavors.
Shahi Jeera (caraway seeds) adds a distinctive flavor.

Salt and oil are essential for cooking the rice.


Layering and Cooking

Saffron: Soaked in warm milk, saffron adds a beautiful color and a subtle, floral flavor.
Ghee: clarified butter used for its rich, nutty flavor.
Additional Herbs: More mint and coriander leaves for layering.
Fried onions are used generously between the layers.

Equipment Needed

Heavy-Bottomed Pot: Essential for even cooking and preventing the biryani from burning.
Tawa (griddle): used during the dum cooking process.
Lid or aluminum foil: for sealing the pot and trapping the steam.

Step-by-Step Cooking Guide


Marinate the Chicken

Step 1
Preparation: Clean and cut the chicken into medium-sized pieces. Pat dry to remove excess moisture.
Marination: In a large mixing bowl, combine the chicken with yogurt, red chili powder, turmeric powder, ginger-garlic paste, garam masala powder, lemon juice, mint leaves, coriander leaves, green chilies, and fried onions. Mix thoroughly, ensuring each piece is well-coated.
Resting: Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight. This allows the flavors to penetrate deeply into the chicken【6†source】【7†source】【8†source】.


Step 2

Prepare the Rice
Soaking the Rice: Rinse the basmati rice under cold water until the water runs clear. Soak the rice in water for 30 minutes. This helps the grains cook evenly and prevents them from breaking.
Boiling Water: In a large pot, bring 8 cups of water to a rolling boil. Add bay leaves, cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, cloves, shahi jeera, salt, and oil.
Cooking the rice: Add the soaked and drained rice to the boiling water. Cook the rice until it is 70–80% done (approximately 7-8 minutes). The rice should be firm to bite but not fully cooked.
Draining the Rice: Drain the rice in a colander and spread it out on a tray to cool slightly. This stops the cooking process and prevents the rice from becoming mushy.

Step 3

Layering the Biryani
Base Layer: In a heavy-bottomed pot, add a tablespoon of ghee to the bottom. Spread the marinated chicken evenly over the bottom of the pot.
First Layer of Rice: Layer half of the partially cooked rice over the chicken.
Toppings: Sprinkle half of the saffron milk, fried onions, mint leaves, and coriander leaves over the rice layer.
Second Layer: Repeat with the remaining rice, saffron milk, fried onions, mint leaves, and coriander leaves.
Final Touch: Drizzle the remaining ghee on top. This not only adds flavor but also helps to keep the rice moist during the cooking process】.

Step 4:

Dum Cooking

Sealing the Pot: Cover the pot tightly with aluminum foil to seal it, then place a lid on top. This helps to trap the steam inside, which is crucial for the dum cooking process.
Initial High Heat: Place the pot on a tawa (griddle) and cook on high heat for 5 minutes. This creates steam and begins the cooking process.
Reduce Heat: Reduce the heat to low and cook for an additional 30–35 minutes. Alternatively, you can place the pot directly on low heat for the same amount of time. Make sure the edges are sealed well to prevent steam from escaping.
Resting: After cooking, let the biryani rest for 10 minutes before opening. This allows the flavors to meld together and the steam to settle【7†source】【9†source】.

Step 5

Serving the Biryani
Mixing Gently: Gently mix the layers of rice and chicken without breaking the rice grains. Use a flat spatula or a large serving spoon for this purpose.
Garnish with additional fried onions, mint leaves, and coriander leaves.
Serving: Serve hot with a side of raita (yogurt-based condiment) or mirchi ka salan (spicy chili curry). A simple cucumber and tomato salad also pairs well with the rich flavors of biryani (sources 9 and 10).


Troubleshooting Tips

Rice overcooked: If the rice is overcooked, it can become mushy. To avoid this, ensure you cook the rice only until it’s 70–80% done and cool it immediately after draining.
Chicken Undercooked: If the chicken is undercooked, it could mean the dum cooking time was insufficient. Make sure the pot is well-sealed and cooked on low heat for the recommended time.
Biryani Too Dry: If the biryani is dry, it may lack sufficient ghee or yogurt in the marinade. Adding a bit more ghee during the layering can help keep it moist.
Burning at the Bottom: Using a heavy-bottomed pot and cooking on a tawa can help distribute the heat evenly and prevent burning.

Regional Variations of Biryani

Biryani has numerous regional variations across India, each with unique flavors and ingredients:

Hyderabadi Biryani
Known for its spicy and aromatic flavors, Hyderabadi Biryani uses a combination of raw meat and rice cooked together.

Kolkata Biryani
Awadhi cuisine has inspired the mildly spiced, slightly sweet dish known as Kolkata Biryani. It also contains potatoes.

Lucknowi (Awadhi) Biryani
A dum-style biryani where meat and rice are cooked separately and then layered and cooked together.

Malabar Biryani
Popular in Kerala, this biryani uses short-grain rice and incorporates local spices and flavors.

Serving Suggestions

Side dishes that balance the rich flavors of the biryani are frequently served with it. Some popular choices include:

Raita: A yogurt-based side dish that can be made with cucumber, onion, and mint.
Mirchi Ka Salan: A spicy chili curry that pairs well with the mild and aromatic biryani.
Boiled Eggs: Adding boiled eggs as a garnish provides extra protein and flavor.
Salad: A simple cucumber, tomato, and onion salad adds a refreshing contrast


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Ahmed Mainul

My name is Ahmed Mainul Mondal, I'm the founder of the hospitality career profile website. I'm writing blogs and news posts as per user preferences.

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